You're Failing the Homeless of Wales; Councils under Attack

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), August 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

You're Failing the Homeless of Wales; Councils under Attack


Byline: By STEVE BAGNALL

CHARITY chiefs yesterday claimed homeless people were being left out in the cold because of failing North Wales councils' housing policies.

Shelter Cymru claims come on the back of a Welsh ombudsman report criticising local authorities' approach to dealing with housing for homeless people.

Public services ombudsman for Wales Adam Peat warned many were failing to get policies in line with the new Homelessness Act 2002 and could be breaking the law.

North Wales county housing bosses assured they were reviewing and updating measures to ensure the homeless were being looked after properly.

Shelter Cymru director John Puzey said: "We are still finding problems with some local authorities and we have had problems with most of the North Wales councils.

"The problem is about giving people reasonable preference for houses and the new legislation was to give the homeless better preference.

"Social housing is a scarce resource and should be allocated to those in the greatest need, but in some cases this is not happening for the homeless."

Mr Peat said in his report: "I have been concerned to find in a number of recent investigations that a significant number of county and county borough councils in Wales have yet to adopt housing allocations policies which fully comply with the law and which take appropriate account of the relevant statutory guidance.

"There is also cause for concern about the manner in which homelessness applications are dealt with."

A Denbighshire council spokesman said: "Denbighshire has responded to the ombudsman and confirmed our allocations and homelessness policies were revised in 2005 to take account of the Homelessness Act 2002.

"There are a number of relatively minor issues to be reconsidered and independent legal advice has been obtained. …

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